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Travels into Several Remote Digital Realms of the World
PART I: A Voyage to Libraryland

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Location: Champaign, Illinois, United States

2006-02-17

Policing Porn Is Not Part of Job Description

In the library community there's often talk about the Patriot Act and its conflicts with their core values of free access to information. While the arguments about the 'decency' of past museum exhibits aren’t directly related to Homeland Security, you have to wonder if the porno cops will be showing up next at the National Gallery of Art.

There are issues however related to the broader idea of making cultural heritage available. I understand that the USGS has removed locations of archeological sites from new maps in order to protect them. What are our responsibilities if we digitize older materials that reveal these locations and might be misused by looters, black marketeers, etc. What if we receive a cease and desist order from Homeland Security because those historic photos of a dam being built could be a security threat? Do we have a firm enough grasp on what our values are to respond appropriately?



Via BoingBoing

County Homeland Security Officers Try To Police Porn, Fail
Mo "Here's a story in today's Washington Post about two Montgomery County Homeland Security officers who try to police porn at a public library. After one patron is targeted and asked to step outside, the librarian resists. The police are called and the only ones ushered outside are the failed porn cops. I hope the librarian gets the librarian-of-the-month award for standing up for free speech and privacy."

Two uniformed men strolled into the main room of the Little Falls library in Bethesda one day last week and demanded the attention of all patrons using the computers. Then they made their announcement: The viewing of Internet pornography was forbidden.

The men looked stern and wore baseball caps emblazoned with the words "Homeland Security." The bizarre scene unfolded Feb. 9, leaving some residents confused and forcing county officials to explain how employees assigned to protect county buildings against terrorists came to see it as their job to police the viewing of pornography.

It's sad to see what happens when you give some people a tin badge and a cap. Link

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